AfriLife

The art of self-nourishment

Herald what your mother said
Read the books your father read
Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time
Some may have more cash than you
Others take a different view, my oh my, heh, hey

— You Gotta Be, Desiree

When we think about nourishment, you mind automatically goes to food. We think of healthy meals, juice fasts and meal plans. If anything nourishing our bodies in a world that celebrates physical beauty and strength means eating right so we look right or rather what society deems is right.

We talk about binge watching reality TV shows without really thinking about what we are binging on and how it affects our view of the world. Media is really powerful and it actually has a profound effect on those who view it. We’ll get to this in an upcoming post.

And now thanks to social media we are constantly bombarded with images and videos of how our lives should look like or not look like. We live in a world where people will do anything for likes and follows. So much so that we even begin to judge someone’s character or likability based on the number of followers they have on Instagram or Twitter.

It’s almost as if we have forgotten how carefully crafted the social media personality is. Beauty is measured by the size of your ass, how many times you squat and bench press, the perfection of your pout and while I believe, you are free to post what you want on your wall (I like doughnuts and dogs), you should also be aware that you are free to choose what you view on social media.

What images do you feed into your mind? Are you stuck looking at the flawless photo app assisted butt of a female socialite and sharing it on your whatsapp groups so your fellow female friends can also feel horrible about their jiggly bits? Are you watching music videos and looking at the toned muscles of dancers and embarking on crunches soon after? Are you listening to artists who casually boast about having a “yellow model chick” and wonder what it means while also acknowledging that indeed you are not yellow or a model for that matter?

Ask yourself: “Self, what are we eating? Is it healthy? Is it good for me?”

So much of what we consume in media is chosen for us, from the news, to music, to TV shows. Somewhere, someone, mostly male, mostly older makes the final decision as to what you will see and hear and we accept it, without questions.

Social media on the other hand tries to combat this with algorithms but even this is not perfect, click on one cat video and cat videos is all you will get the whole of next week. The great thing is that you can now choose what appears on your newsfeed or, if you need to take drastic measures, leave social media altogether. Some people swear their lives have been better for it.

Self-nourishment in the personal sense means being more self aware of what you put into your mind. This could be what you consume on TV or Youtube, what stories you click and so forth. It also means questioning the things you see or hear, for whose benefit and why are they being streamed to you?

You also have to find ways to nourish your soul in tangible ways. In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests taking yourself on artists dates, spending time with yourself doing something new that you will enjoy.

You can also self nourish by doing activities you have always enjoyed. It could be physical: such as going for a run, hiking, cycling in the park. Emotional: hanging with the friend or loved one who lifts you up. Spiritual: prayer, meditation and fellowship. And mental: watching a good movie/documentary, reading a great book or well written article. Talk to yourself and about yourself with love, switch off that phone, play some good music and dance, whatever makes you feel good. That’s self nourishment.

 

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